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Backstage Experts

How To Make Your Mark On a Character During Pilot Season

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How To Make Your Mark On a Character During Pilot Season

Have you ever noticed that right around the fourth or fifth episode, most television shows become just a little more interesting? We become a little more invested in the characters at that point. I don’t think it’s merely because they’re more familiar to us. I think several factors are in play.

When pilots are written, they’re obviously not cast yet. Well okay, maybe the writer has a star or type in mind. And there are some pilots that are written specifically for a star – but that celebrity still has to have a supporting cast. And if you’ll notice many of the characters in a pilot are what I like to call “vanilla" – meaning that they aren’t fully developed and fully fleshed out yet. The breakdown will give a bit of an indication of the character. But there is much open room to cast any certain character as tall, thin, short, ethnic, blonde, older, younger, etc.

I’ve seen many a time when casting had a particular type in mind for a role, and then went in a completely different direction because the actor gave such an extraordinary read, and most of all, brought a uniqueness to the character that they hadn’t seen.

And that is where you make your mark. Your uniqueness! If it’s multi- or single-cam, look for your opportunity to put your brand on the character. Whether it's drama or comedy, try this: Look at the face value behavior of the character. Look for a pattern of that behavior. Include those patterns in your character’s backstory and take care to give every choice an emotional reason to exist.

When going over the sides, know the feelings and perspective that your character has about everything. Does he/she love their job? Critique her husband? Adore his wife? Is he/she bossy, arrogant, defiant, vulnerable, sweet, bold, or shy? When and with whom? Build a uniqueness from your perspective that no other actor can build. Take the vanilla out of the character and give ‘em a strawberry, marshmallow, chocolate swirl, caramel something they’ve never seen before.

Walk in that audition to give them something, never to get something. Don’t try to guess what they might want. Think about what you have to give. Hope to see all 13 of your episodes!!

Warner Loughlin is the founder of Warner Loughlin Studios, a Los Angeles based acting studio. The technique created by Ms. Loughlin specifically for film and television, and now used by many Broadway actors, is widely regarded as the most effective and powerful technique of our generation. The Studio is home to many Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony award nominees and winners and series regulars, including Amy Adams, Ryan Reynolds, Zooey Deschanel, Matt Bomer ("White Collar"), Ginnifer Goodwin ("Once Upon A Time"), Sarah Rafferty ("Suits"), Sanaa Lathan ("Boss"), Nikki DeLoach (Awkward) and countless others.

Learn more about Warner and her Studio by visiting www.warnerloughlin.com, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Warner Loughlin is the founder of Warner Loughlin Studios, a Los Angeles based acting studio. The technique created by Ms. Loughlin specifically for film and television, and now used by many Broadway actors, is widely regarded as the most effective and powerful technique of our generation. The Studio is home to many Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony award nominees and winners and series regulars, including Amy Adams, Ryan Reynolds, Zooey Deschanel, Matt Bomer ("White Collar"), Ginnifer Goodwin ("Once Upon A Time"), Sarah Rafferty ("Suits"), Sanaa Lathan ("Boss"), Nikki DeLoach (Awkward) and countless others.

Learn more about Warner and her Studio by visiting www.warnerloughlin.com, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

- See more at: http://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/backstage-experts/why-60-minutes-can-make-difference/#sthash.WN3yCtwU.dpuf

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